Jack Slade (Mauritz Hugo) and Mary Conway,alias Blanche (Veda Ann Borg), being recognized as known and wanted crooks by deputy marshal Harry Stevens (Steve Clark) and, when he orders them out of town, Slade kills him.
His son, Bob Stevens (Bob Steele) and friend Parkford (Hoot Gibson) become U.S. Marshals and proceed to rid the town of the cut-throat gang that has been terrorizing the citizens.
March 14, 2014 Subject:
A Troubled Film And A Troubled Series
In 1943, Monogram came up with idea to team pals and former top-rung western stars in a new series. Ken Maynard and Hoot Gibson playing themselves seemed like a good idea during the war years. They weren't going to be drafted or enlist as many other top western stars had, or in the case of Buck Jones killed in a fire. The first couple of entries filmed went pretty well for the producer Sherry Tansey and the writer Frances Kavanaugh, but not without complaints from Ken Maynard and he had some. They in turn weren't happy with him either. Monogram was not amused as well. As soon as Bob Steele wrapped the "Three Mesquiters" series at Republic, he was brought in to bolster the "Trail- Blazers" series at Monogram. Indeed Ken Maynard was fired after three films with Bob Steele and replaced by Chief Thunder Cloud (aka Victor Daniels) for two more films in early 1944. Following that, the entire team including Tansey, Kavanaugh and their crew were gone save for Bob Steele and Hoot Gibson.
"Marked Trails" was the first film with the duo and it's a mish-mash for sure. J.P. McCarthy, a director of note was brought in to do the picture and he's probably as good as Monogram could get on short notice. The script reads like a rejected Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton film script.
The acting was passable in spots. Veda Ann Borg gets an honorable mention.
This may be the last film in the series that isn't lost. "The Utah Kid" and "Trigger Law" from later in 1944 may be lost. I've never seen them anywhere. in 1945, Steele was at PRC for a series and did a couple Cinecolor Westerns as well. Gibson was out of films after that except for a cameo or two. This is worth a look just for watching two Western film stars trying to carry on. Picture and sound is O.K.